Breaking Down the #GiveWhiteMenAChance Hashtag

It is and it isn’t about exactly what you think

Photo: Tom Werner/Getty Images

I had two questions after seeing #GiveWhiteMenAChance trending on Twitter. First of all, I wondered what do they want a chance to do? Secondly, who thinks they deserve a chance? Hear me out. Throughout American history, White men enjoyed opportunities to govern without consent, to amass power through unscrupulous methods, and to maintain it by any means necessary.

So, I thought to myself, this hashtag couldn’t have been asking for socioeconomic or political opportunities. Perhaps White men wanted a chance to be trusted by Black people, women, and other marginalized groups. However, no one is stopping them from shining like a diamond in the areas of equity and inclusivity. If White men, in particular, want to take responsibility for their privilege and fight to ensure that everyone has equal opportunities, we’re open to embracing that type of mood. But something told me there was some nonsense brewing underneath the surface of this hashtag.

After some digging, I found out that the point of the #GiveWhiteMenAChance hashtag was related to love and romance; to give them a chance romantically. That’s almost reasonable, but here’s where it goes awry: Black women have the right to date whoever they want and many already date and marry White men. Black women have already given White men a chance, so insisting that Black women need to give more is asking too much. The last thing Black women need right now is a campaign on why they should be sympathetic to a White man’s romantic feelings.

Amid talks of Covid killing dating and people marrying as soon as possible due to pandemic-related circumstances, this hashtag makes limited sense. But some of the conversation is not right. Some people are stating they want us to call up a White man as if he is the solution to any dating woes we have. Plus, the comedy is not lost on me. After all, many hashtags on Twitter are jokes or soon become them.

Twitter went wild with responses that ranged from White men asking what chances they are missing out on to Black women mocking White men who claim “I don’t see race.”

One White man tweeted “It’s our time,” which shows that some were waiting for this moment. Some users pointed out particular blue-eyed soul crushes, like John B and Michael McDonald, and insisted Black women should “go where the love is.”

Some of the Twitter responses include some beautiful wedding photographs of interracial couples. It was great to see these relationships celebrated, but it was strange that they got associated with #GiveWhiteMenAChance. One White man said it perfectly, “Nobody needs to #GiveWhiteMenAChance, but I do love my wife more than anything in this world.” He appreciates the chance he got and realizes how awkward it is to insist that Black women need to give him a chance.

Ultimately, White men in power are the ones who need to make opportunities rain. It’s funny to observe how the hashtag responses illustrated that Black/White romance matters, yet it’s still an uphill battle trying to get White men to embrace structural changes which could improve Black people’s lives—and not just romantic ones. And there you go. That’s the story behind the trend.

Essayist, Poet, Activist, and Scholar, EIC of CULTURED, Founder of #WEOC, with bylines at Momentum & ZORA ♥︎

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